To determine a full planning application from Beverley Park Lawn Tennis Club for the installation of new low level LED floodlighting to two existing outdoor tennis courts no.s 2 and 3 via 9no. 6m high lighting columns with LED box type fittings.
The Committee considered a report from the planning officers, together with three seperate addendums circulated prior to the meeting, in relation to a full planning application from Beverley Park Lawn Tennis Club for the installation of new low level LED floodlighting to two existing outdoor tennis courts numbers 2 and 3 via 9no. 6m high lighting columns with LED box type fittings.
A planning officer presented details of the application with the aid of various maps, plans and photographs.
In accordance with the Committee’s Speaking Rights Scheme the following people had been granted permission to speak to the Committee:
Lichfields Planning and Development Consultancy
Douglas Gibson of Beverley Road
Tom Lowenstein of Beverley Park
Christopher Potts of Beverley Park
Gillian Potts of Beverley Park
Jean Ridley of Beverley Park
On behalf of this group, Chris Potts and Tom Lowenstein addressed the Committee. They were supportive of the tennis club’s operation, which was a valued asset for the local community, but they expressed their concerns regarding the proposed installation of LED lighting. They made reference to decisions to refuse similar planning applications in Manchester and Tynemouth to illustrate that the proposed lighting scheme would neither protect or enhance the Monkseaton Conservation Area and the noise and glare likely to be generated by the scheme would be detrimental to the amenity of those living around the site. The concerns of neighbouring residents in relation to noise, parking, illumination and amenity had been ignored, elements of the application had been flawed and untruthful and the proposed conditions were not sufficiently detailed to provide clarity on the proposed operation of floodlit tennis and its likely impact. Residents were concerned that if coaching sessions were to take place this would create more noise than social tennis activities. The overspill from the LED lighting was likely to have a detrimental effect on the health & wellbeing of neighbouring residents, particularly for one child. It was stated that there were alternative floodlit tennis facilities in the area, residents were disappointed that the Committee had not undertaken a site visit and if an application for tennis courts at this site were submitted today, it would be rejected.
Lauri Chandler and Jon Pope of Beverley Park Lawn Tennis Club addressed the Committee to respond to the speakers’ comments. They thanked the Council and the planning officers for their co-operation in processing the application. The Club had sought the support and advice of expert professionals in preparing the application but the agent had made too many assumptions in the process which had led to anxiety and concerns, despite these being corrected at the earliest opportunity. Lauri gave an insight into the vision and values of the club and its committee and she described the range of programmes delivered by the club to provide diverse sections of the community with opportunities to play tennis. She confirmed that the club’s four courts were open between 8am on weekdays and 9pm at weekends until 10pm. The club did not intend to deliver coaching sessions after 6pm. After this time only social tennis among club members would be permitted with a limit of 4 players per court.
Members of the Committee asked questions of the speakers and officers and made comments. In doing so the Committee gave particular consideration to:
a) the nature and extent of parking congestion on Beverley Road;
b) the assessment undertaken of the levels of light from the proposed columns at neighbouring residential properties;
c) the reasons why the Biodiversity Officer had not considered it necessary to request that a bat transect survey be carried out;
d) the details and relevance of a decision to refuse tennis court floodlighting in Tynemouth in 1988, referenced by the speaker;
e) the degree to which the proposed development would cause harm to the conservation area;
f) the timing and nature of hospitality and social functions occurring at the clubhouse during and after tennis matches;
g) the capacity of two floodlit tennis courts to accommodate competitive league tennis;
h) the different styles of coaching activities delivered at the club and their impact on neighbouring residents in terms of noise generated;
i) the club’s intention to provide floodlit coaching sessions for children between 4pm and 6pm one day per week during the winter months;
j) the reasons for not proposing to install lights on courts 1 and 4;
k) details of the Clubspark system used for court bookings which could be linked to, and could control, the lighting system; and
l) the dependence of the club’s community programmes on the installation of the lighting.
Resolved that planning permission be refused on the following grounds:
1. The proposed development would result in harm to the residential amenity of surrounding occupiers; contrary to the National Planning Policy Framework and Policies S1.4 and DM5.19 of the North Tyneside Local Plan 2017.
2. The proposed development would result in unacceptable harm to the character and appearance of the conservation area and is therefore contrary to the National Planning Policy Framework, policies DM6.1, S6.5, DM6.6 of the North Tyneside Local Plan 2017, the Design Quality Supplementary Planning Document and the Monkseaton Conservation Area Character Appraisal.